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The Pitfalls of Incoming Marketing


The business climate has got harder, with no sign of it getting any easier. Those of us who have worked through recessions and hard business climates before know what’s coming next. For a lot of industries the pie of potential business is going to shrink. And that means, just to stand still, you have to increase market share and that means being even better at revenue generation. Trouble is, for a lot salespeople they haven’t had to deal with this kind of hard before. The lockdowns during Covid were hard. In that environment many salespeople have relied upon being able to send social messages and emails and the buyers have found what they were looking for. Perhaps that’s despite the messages, not because of them. Have you noticed just how many more spam emails and cold LinkedIn messages you are getting, even past the Covid pandemic?

Nobody would mind them if they were well done. In other words if they were correctly targeted to your potential requirements, highlighting the problems that they could solve without making you feel inadequate because you haven’t already taken their solution. Here is a prime example I got for Keyman insurance recently (on a Saturday!)

Hey Paul, Hope all is well with you! I wanted to briefly remind you of our services at XXXX Insurance. I'd love to discuss options for you and put together a quick quote. Would you be interested in some further information? Kind Regards,

What's so wrong about this? Well, firstly I have no idea who this person is and they claim too much familiarity. "Remind " me? Maybe they've sent me a previous message, I don't know, I can't remember, but "remind" suggests I have forgotten to do something. So I'm even less kindly disposed towards the sender. A quick quote? About? Yes, I happen to know what Keyman Insurance is (I used to sell it, decades ago) but they obviously have no idea about my business and how it is arranged. I'm not a sensible prospect. And anyone who knows Sandler knows you never do a quick quote unless you have found out the real business problem, what the prospect is prepared to invest to solve that problem and how they will make the decision. So they are accidentally suggesting they have no real interest in my problems, just in closing a quick deal for themselves.

I know, I'm just a number in a cold email blast. I could tell that because I got sent it on a Saturday. So why should I get annoyed? Because I have to give this at least some attention before I delete it. And if I am deleting these messages with little thought, then any good and relevant messages I might receive are going to get deleted too. And that means MY good and relevant messages that I am sending out are also going to get deleted! Their poor prospecting is helping spoil it for everybody.

But often it’s not even the salespeople who are sending these terribly constructed messages; it is marketing departments and lead generation companies who send them. So when they get a response, they claim a good lead has been generated and then the pressure is on the salesperson to close it. But let’s be honest, how committed is the prospect likely to be? They’ve been promised a quick quote. A “finger in the air” to get a feel for whether it’s worth looking into this at some point, perhaps, maybe in the future, when other things aren’t crowding in and calling for attention. The trouble is, they will get a quick quote. Probably a cheap, non-tailored, basic quote that now sets unrealistic expectations for whenever they do get round to it. So this has yet again spoiled opportunities for everybody. The prospect is poorly served and the marketplace is pushed further towards a commoditised bottom.

"So Mr hot-shot-trainer , what would you have done differently?" Well firstly I wouldn't have sent it to someone like me. That being said, it might grab my attention a little more if it read something like this:

Hi Paul I don't suppose you remember my previous messages and my name and company are probably not familiar to you.

However, are you worried that if something was to happen to a business partner you wouldn't be able to afford to find and hire someone as good as them to step into their shoes? What would happen to you and your business?

Most business owners don't want to think about these things, concerned that the cost of sorting these things out far outweighs the risk. Worth having a quick conversation to see if you can get rid of those worries for far less than you thought? Hope I can help, Best regards

Now, wouldn't that be better? It claims nothing, highlights real business concerns, makes the recipient not feel stupid for having left it until now, gives hope of a sensible answer, and, importantly, takes the salesperson out of the picture instead putting the prospect front and centre.

Prospecting has to be more sophisticated now. You cannot waste good opportunities with poor marketing and lead generation attempts. What is the answer? Marketing emails and LinkedIn campaigns aren’t all bad if they are done right. Perhaps it is also time to review what you are doing for your prospecting, time to train your commercial team to find their own properly qualified leads instead of relying on “in-coming” leads. I know there was for a long while an intense desire to stop outgoing prospecting and “in-coming” leads were seen as far better, more qualified, less pushy, more professional. But perhaps times have changed again. Poor marketing, like the real example quoted above, is not professional. And you haven’t got the luxury anymore of wasting resources on speculative leads.

If you are based in Surrey, Berkshire Hampshire Sussex or Kent and you’d like to learn how to get you and your team better at 21st Century Prospecting, click here for more details. If you want help with improving outbound prospecting click here or contact me for details about my Prospecting Workshop at

Paul Glynn

Paul Glynn

Sandler trainer